Analog Vs. Megapixel IP Cameras

IP Cameras are the largest breakthrough in security camera technology since cameras have been produced.

What are the differences between Analog and IP Cameras? 

The main difference between the two camera types is the way in which the video signal is delivered. Analog cameras turn the video signal into a format that can be received by a television or other receiver such as a VCR or monitor. An IP based camera, also known as an IP network camera, digitizes the video signal using a specialized encoder that contains an onboard web server. This allows the IP camera to act as a network device, thus allowing captured video images to be viewed not only through an existing network, but also through a web browser that can be accessed through the Internet. Both analog and IP-based video cameras can transmit signals either wirelessly or through wired connections such as Cat5e cables. IP-based cameras have the added benefit of being able to use switches, hubs, and routers that allow the Cat5e network to be expanded to much broader ranges. In order to determine which style camera system is best suited to your needs, let us take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of each style.

Pros of analog cameras            

  • Lower Cost
  • Better in low light

Cons of analog cameras

  • 0.4 Megapixel maximum resolution
  • 50 Year old technology
  • Very sensitive to interference and ground loops
  • Long distance applications are more difficult; If your surveillance needs encompass a wide area, analog cameras may not be your best choice. Analog cameras generally do not accommodate big distances, and getting them to work over broad ranges can be difficult.  Wireless analog is very unreliable and poor quality, and underground cables are extremely prone to lightning and a whole host of other problems.

Pros of IP cameras

  • 6 to 20 times higher resolution
  • Very easy to reliably transmit wirelessly over long distances.  If you have a line of sight to your remote location, as well as electric, you can easily transmit IP cameras to distances of over 10 miles.
  • Can utilize existing wiring -- Because IP-based cameras act as their own network device, you can often take advantage of existing network wiring within your home. This can make the installation task much easier.
  • Easy remote access.  IP cameras can be viewed on nearly any PC, Tablet/iPad or iPhone/Android phone.
  • Intelligent cameras.  Most IP cameras are more than just a camera, and can be used to do many different things for your security, i.e. send you a text message whenever it detects motion.
  • Most IP cameras allow you to backup video onto a microSD card on the camera itself.  This is a useful backup in case the NVR is broken/stolen.
  • Progressive scan CMOS sensors offer crystal clear moving shots of vehicles. You can see the type of wheels on a car moving at 70 mph.
  • Simple to wire and install.  IP cameras send video and are powered by only one small Cat5e cable, which saves time and eliminates clutter.
  • One Cat5e cable can be used to send many cameras back to the NVR, thus saving time and money spent on running many different wires.
  • Can continually add cameras one at a time without purchasing DVR’s in multiples of 4 - 8 or 16.

Cons of IP cameras

  • Higher cost -- Because of the additional technology that is built into each camera, the cost is generally higher than analog versions.
  • Higher bandwidth required -- IP cameras require more bandwidth than analog cameras.

Click here for an image gallery comparing Analog and Megapixel IP Cameras.

Pros of Network Video Recorders (NVR For IP Cameras) over Digital Video Recorders (DVR) For Analog Cameras.

  • Intelligent software.  Our NVRs are equipped with software that is very advanced and packed with features, yet it is fairly simple to use.  For example, you could use the software on our NVRs to remotely turn lights on or off, open or close gates, and trigger alarms, just to name a few.  The great part is that you can do all of this from your cell phone, tablet or a computer with internet access.
  • Advanced motion detection.  The motion detection recording on our NVRs is very sophisticated and reliable, allowing you to quickly review footage and save hard drive space on the NVR.
  • Counting applications.  You can use the NVR software to see how many cars drove in or out of a parking lot, as well as to see how many people walked in or out of a certain room.
  • Digital Pan, Tilt, Zoom (PTZ).  The Digital PTZ feature on our NVRs allow you to have multiple views of a single cameras, making it easy to monitor specific sections of a view that an IP camera is getting.

Click here for an image gallery showing the hardware and more information about our NVRs.

The bottom line is that there is only one reason to choose analog cameras over IP cameras; It’s cheaper! But don’t forget you need about 6 analog cameras to get the same resolution as one 2 megapixel IP camera, so is it really worth it?  When the day of reckoning happens for burglary, vandalism, liability, employee theft, workman’s comp injury, lawsuits, the question stands…..when it is time to find out what happened and you can’t see the detail you needed...was it worth the cost to save the money? What money did you save when you can’t view the details? “It looked good on the TV screen but when I zoomed in I couldn’t see anything”. We’ve heard it over and over in the old analog days when we had no other choices. That day has passed with megapixel IP technology.  The only reason most competitors don’t do IP cameras is because they don’t know how to do IP cameras, there’s no other excuse.



Example of six Analog Cameras needed to do the job of one 2 Megapixel IP Camera


1.3 Megapixel vs. Analog Camera



Here's an example of our high performance NVR software in action.  9 different views are produced from only 2 cameras.